Drones and the rise of the high-tech assassins


#1

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#2

Sounds like the Chair Force hit on the bright idea of recruiting basement-dwelling Internet Tough Guys to be bunker-dwelling Internet Tough Guys. You just know that ten years earlier these were three of the hordes of pimply kids calling opponents “n00bf4gs” or whatever after spawn-camping them in Q3A.

(Also, fraternizing with (aka fucking) subordinates, under direct command no less? Isn’t that a big no-no?)


#3

The problem with the system isn’t the technology, it’s far more systemic and horrible than that:

There is no accountability, and no ethics.


#7

$5000 a head? What an insult, given that those murderous bastards will have spent more on the ordnance killing them than that.

Dear USA: please fuck off and leave the rest of the world in peace :frowning:


#8

I hadn’t felt this angry and frustrated in a long time. This is utter bullshit, and the lack of accountability is astounding. That this happens in your name and you refuse to mobilise for what, 6 years now? More? Is appalling.


#9

But for most of the people in whose name this mass murder has been committed, the real question is how it will affect stock prices.

Every missile fired is a high profit margin sale for a US and/or NATO based company. What it hits is less relevant to the corps and their political employees. As long as the missiles keep firing, it is a win win from their point of view.


#10

I hate to break it to everyone, but this is what warfare looks like. The incident described is horrifying, and there are plenty more like it. This has been the case in every war ever fought. The reason people are reacting the way they do is that most of them grew up thinking that war is really the way it has been portrayed in the movies. We expect those representing our country in the military to behave like we have been told that our soldiers behaved in “good” wars, like WW2. They will always fail, because warfare was never like that. The civilian toll is always horrific. The difference between now and then is every action taken in today’s conflicts is recorded, studied, and critiqued. I have been in a couple of wars, and I can tell you that nobody takes civilian casualties lightly. We as a country put these people in the situation where they have to make decisions where people are going to die. Fire on the target and risk killing innocents. Don’t fire and the target blows up a school. Many of the comments about this incident seem to reflect a belief that our troops are a bunch of sociopaths who enjoy killing innocents. This is the kind of simplistic attitude I expect from someone who has just finished their first semester of college, and now has all the answers. I wish I was as smart as I thought I was when I was 21.


#11

Yeah there has always been war, and none of them good. I see only one comment, so far, that questioned the soldiers motives. What I hear is people asking wtf are we doing?

We have dudes with remote-controls operating a multitrillion dollar killing apparatus to chase down goat herders with ak-47’s. Sometimes it’s hard not to see the injustice with that policy.

But from the historical perspective this is what we as a country are good at. 150 years of brutal genocide then we let you run some casinos. Drop two atomic bombs on your head and we’ll let you be one of our closest allies. Who knows maybe another 50-100 years of drone strikes will repair things in south western asia.


#12

Actually people are shocked because this isn’t what war has always looked like. Never has so little personal risk on the part of the invaders been accepted for the privilege of killing people in another country.

The extremity of the asymmetry is off putting.

The numbers being killed are comparatively low, but it would suggest that the ratio of non combatant victims to legitimate targets, if such a thing exists, is actually quite high compared to a pitched battle between two armies which is what people commonly think of when thinking of war.


#13

Hardly.Part of the difference is the history of formal declaration of war, versus shady military engagements with no formal basis.

That’s great, when your country actually declares war on another country, and fights its military forces. The problem is that, right now, all of “our adversaries” casualties are civilians. Because there is no way to actually account for membership in the loosely-knit networks of people who are allegedly working against US interests. When US troops were climbing through the mountains of Afghanistan, did “adversaries” have Taliban membership cards? Or did the US just guess at who it’s personal targets were on an engagement-by-engagement basis?

Not being able (or willing) to state explicitly who your enemies are, and what your objectives are, means a lack of accountability. And causes, in turn, a lack of credibility.

Your country has a reason to engage in military conflict because its interests are threatened. But, conveniently, US interests are explained as our “sovereign right and duty” while other countries are not recognized as having the sovereignty to mind their own affairs, and deal with their own problems. Even killing of known combatants in a place where you have no right to be is still a crime, as many people understand it. They have a right to be “combatants” in their own country, it’s theirs! That the US throws it’s weight around to play fast and loose with war and military actions might mean that have been getting away with it, but this doesn’t make it legal, right, or without consequences.


#14

Clearly, the zero physical risk issue is mostly a new one, although shelling cities from long distance or launching V2s are similar. As long as the combatants are in-theater, there is some risk, even if it is only from equipment malfunction. I disagree about the ratio of non combatant casualties being higher now. The number of civilians killed by all sides in WW2 was staggering. I am sure that there have been times in history where two armies met in an unpopulated area for “civilized” combat, but I think that has been rare through history.


#15

A large percentage of the hostile forces in Afghanistan today are not Afghans. It would be nice if everyone there would put a “C” for civilian or “J” for jihad on their forehead to simplify things. But I will not make an attempt to justify the reasons our involvement in the conflict. I agree that we should probably not be there at all. And I really don’t think a formal declaration of war, or any other form of paperwork, makes any difference at all to either a soldier pinned down in a foxhole or a family who has lost a child in the conflict.


#16

Fair enough! Nobody else was able to do it either.

After the fact, no, I don’t suppose they’d feel any better about it.

The formality of it can be used before engaging to decide whether or not the affair is legitimate. Otherwise, there is always the possibility of being the person putting another’s war crimes into action. Doing this all remotely lowers the bar not only with regards to state accountability, but also less individual risk usually leads to less incentive to think through the consequences.


#17

<—Disgusted.

$5k sounds about as much as they would have paid for their friggin IRC server.

/mode #MyFuckingCountry +b TheseAssholes!*@*


#18

Probably less the the ordnance used to kill them.


#19

Depends on what we define as ‘historically’, but war has generally involved the death of millions of civilians. The mongol invasions, for example, commonly murdered entire towns due to lack of surrender, and many of the crusaders had similar body counts.

I’m not defending drone warfare here, insofar as I’m not going to defend warfare at all, but drone warfare is hardly worse than other types of warfare, and by some measures (again, that I’m not saying justifies anything about it) it’s better.


#20

Right, war is hell.

But we are not “at war”. We’re simply bombing random people all over the world. Let’s try to keep that in mind.


#21

It’s not worse for the victims, it’s worse because it makes murder easier. At least the Mongols had to get their hands dirty. (Okay, their hands were probably already pretty gross, but you get my point.)


#22

To the victims, I don’t think they care particularly whether or not their hands got dirty.


#23

No, but their victimization may be enabled by removing that “barrier to entry.” If you have to risk something to achieve an objective, you’ll be a little more selective about which objectives you go for.